Telemetry Nurse


Telemetry nursing has been around for over 50 years due to many medical advancements during that time.  During the 1960s, telemetry and cardiac units were founded in New York, Philadelphia and Miami.  This resulted in a major need for skilled cardiac nurses who were able to treat patients with serious issues like heart attack and heart arrhythmias.  By the 1970s, these units helped to decrease heart attack mortality by nearly 20 percent.

This is largely due to nurses being able to perform cardiac monitoring and CPR.  Telemetry nurses monitor electrocardiograms and assist patients on cardiac units with a variety of telemetry needs.



Telemetry Nurse Salary

Telemetry nurses on the registered nursing level earn around $55,432 per year.  The lowest 10 percent earn around $44,395 per year and those with the highest earning potential in the top 10 percent can earn around $70,438 per year.

Where you work will have an impact on your salary.  For example, if you work in a large and well-known hospital system, you will have a much higher earning potential than if you were to work in a smaller system.  Your experience level, certification status, geographic location and education level also play a role in how much you can earn.


Telemetry Nurse Job Description

Telemetry nurses mainly work at hospitals on telemetry and step-down units.  These are units that focus on caring for patients with cardiac issues.  However, they may also work in home healthcare, at clinics and at doctor’s offices.  This type of nurse performs a variety of duties throughout his or her shift.  These can include the following:

  • Measure and monitor vital signs
  • Read EKG rhythms and strips
  • Monitor heart activity
  • Monitor pulse rate and blood pressure
  • Monitor breathing patterns
  • Administer medications and appropriate treatments
  • Assist in obtaining the proper diagnostic testing and laboratory samples
  • Educate patients
  • Perform emergency resuscitation if necessary
  • Assist doctors with certain procedures
  • Report any changes in the patient’s status to the doctor
  • Providing basic hygiene care to patients
  • Discharge planning and teaching
  • Use and maintain specialized equipment
  • Assist patients with presurgical and postsurgical needs
  • Assess psychosocial status
  • Develop appropriate nursing care plans


Telemetry Nurse Education

To become a telemetry nurse in the United States, there are a few things that you need to do first.  All facilities throughout the country will require that you have the following:

  • An associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing from an approved US school
  • A current registered nursing license
  • Some facilities will want you to have at least one year of registered nursing experience

An Associate Degree of Nursing (ADN) will take 18 to 24 months to complete when you are attending school on a full-time basis.  If you pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) you will need at least three to four years to complete your degree when you are attending school on a full-time basis.  Both degrees require a mixture of clinical, laboratory and lecture hours.  How many clinical hours you require will depend on the state that you are in.  The following are typical classes taught in nursing school throughout the United States:

  • Pharmacology
  • Human growth and development
  • Medical surgical nursing (usually has a clinical component)
  • Acute care nursing (usually has a clinical component)
  • Obstetrical nursing (usually has a clinical component)
  • Fundamentals of nursing (has a laboratory component)
  • Geriatric nursing (usually has a clinical component)
  • Pediatric nursing (usually has a clinical component)
  • Psychiatric nursing (usually has a clinical component)


Telemetry Nurse Certification and Licensing

Telemetry nurses must possess an active and unrestricted registered nursing license to work on a telemetry unit.  Gaining other certifications in this field can also help to increase your job prospects and income potential.  These include Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and the Progressive Care Certified Nurse (PCCN) certification.

ACLS is granted by the American Heart Association.  You must complete two days of training, at about six hours each day, to complete your initial certification.  After you successfully complete this, you will be granted a two-year certificate.  To renew your certificate, you must complete a seven-hour course every two years.

The PCCN is offered by the Association of Critical-Care Nurses.  To sit for the examination you must meet the following requirements:

  • Paying all applicable fees
  • In the last two years, you must have a minimum of 1,750 hours of bedside care in acute care for adults
  • In the last five years, you must have a minimum of 5,000 hours of general registered nursing experience
  • An unencumbered registered nursing license

Once you pass the examination, you will have if for three years.  Before it expires, you must properly renew it.  Renewal requirements include:

  • An unencumbered registered nursing license
  • In the last three years, you must have at least 432 hours of direct acute patient care experience
  • Pay all applicable fees
  • In the last three years, you must have completed 60 continuing education from Category A, 10 continuing education credits from Categories B and C and another 20 in the category of your choice


Telemetry Nurse Job Outlook

The job outlook for telemetry nurses is very strong.  It is estimated that between 2008 and 2018, job growth will increase at a rate of 22 percent.  This is much faster than most other jobs in the United States.

Many factors are playing into this massive job growth.  One is that the US population is aging and as people age, there is a higher risk of cardiac events that require telemetry care.  The next factor is that in 2014 Americans will have greater access to healthcare benefits.  This will cause an increase in the number of patients seeing doctors and getting the care that they need.  Lastly, many nurses will be retiring during that time frame.  This opens up immense opportunities for new nurses who aspire to work on telemetry units.



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